Meet The Trainers
Jennifer S. Wilkov
#1 Best-Selling Author, Book Consultant, Journalist & Media Pro at Your Book Is Your Hook!
Jennifer S. Wilkov is a #1 international best-selling award-winning author, an award-winning freelance writer, a popular media personality and executive producer, the Literary Agent Matchmaker™ and a respected book & business consultant in her business called “Your Book Is Your Hook!” She is also a blogger for books for the Huffington Post, and a columnist for the award-winning magazine PUBLISHED and Book Marketing Magazine. She supports first-time writers, seasoned authors, screenwriters and playwrights with the essentials to become a bestseller: a great project, a strong platform and a well-polished pitch, presentation and hook for their books or projects. She educates and assists them with the writing, marketing and getting published/produced processes (traditional with an agent, self-publishing and e-publishing for books / traditional and non-traditional film/tv/theater) for their book ideas and film/tv/theater projects as well as the building of their platform to raise their visibility to readers, the media, Hollywood and beyond.
Jennifer runs the Writers Group for New York Women in Film & Television. She continues to passionately teach and educate writers at the Writers Guild of America, New York Women in Film & Television, as a faculty member at the School of Visual Arts in New York, as a speaker at writers conferences, industry events and for groups, and teaches online for writers’ resources such as Writers Digest, The Writers Store, and others.
Jennifer is also the creator and producer of The Next Bestseller™ Weekend Workshop, a safe space that provides 12 fortunate writers each year with exclusive access to the dream team of industry professionals to help you prepare and practice your pitch and presentation BEFORE you have to talk about it to the professionals and others.
Author and Literary Agent at Sarah Jane Freymann Literary Agency
A literary agent with the Sarah Jane Freymann Literary Agency, Katharine Sands has worked with a varied list of authors who publish a diverse array of books. Highlights include Spiritual Pregnancy: Nine Months that Change Your Life Before You Give Birth by Dr. Shawn Tassone and Dr. Kathryn Landherr; Talk to Strangers: How Everyday Random Encounters Can Expand Your Business, Career, Income and Life by David Topus; The New Rules of Attraction: How to Get Him, Keep Him and Make Him Beg for More by Arden Leigh; Stand Up for Yourself: Resolve Workplace Crises Before You Quit, Get Axed or Sue the Bastards by Donna Ballman; Making Healthy EZ with Dr. Oz guest, Dr. Julie Chen; Dating the Devil (producer: Vast Entertainment) by Lia Romeo; XTC: SongStories; Chasing Zebras: THE Unofficial Guide to House, MD by Barbara Barnett of Let’s Talk TV; CityTripping: a Guide for Foodies, Fashionistas and the Generally Style-Obsessed; Writers on Directors; Ford Model, Helen Lee’s The Tao of Beauty; Elvis and You: Your Guide to the Pleasures of Being an Elvis Fan; Glow! The Natural Path to the Radiant, Healthier, Happier, Younger You by Dr. Pina; New York: Songs of the City; Taxpertise: Dirty Little Secrets the IRS Doesn’t Want You to Know; The SAT Word Slam, Divorce After 50; Trust Your Gut; Make Up, Don’t Break Up with Oprah guest Dr. Bonnie Eaker Weil to name a few.
Katharine is the agent provocateur of Making the Perfect Pitch: How to Catch a Literary Agent’s Eye, a collection of pitching wisdom from leading literary agents. Recently contributed “Grey is the New Black” to Fifty Writers on Fifty Shades of Grey, a nonfiction look at the cultural phenom of the bestselling novel.
Actively building her client list, she likes books that have a clear benefit for readers’ lives in categories of food, travel, lifestyle, home arts, beauty, wisdom, relationships, parenting, and fresh looks, which might be at issues, life challenges or popular culture. When reading fiction she wants to be compelled and propelled by urgent storytelling, and hooked by characters. For memoir and femoir, she likes to be transported to a world rarely or newly observed.
Lane Shefter Bishop
Hollywood Producer at Vast Entertainment
Lane Shefter Bishop is a multi-award winning producer/director who has received numerous accolades for her work including an EMMY, six Telly Awards, a Videographer Award, three Communicator Awards, a Sherril C. Corwin Award, an Aurora Award, a Davey Award, a New York Festivals Award and the DGA Fellowship Award for Episodic Television.
Currently Ms. Bishop is the CEO of Vast Entertainment, THE go to book-to-screen company, with numerous projects, including feature films: THE LAST APPLE (Joel Silver/Silver Pictures and Ineffable Pictures), REBOOT
(Mike Medavoy/Phonix Pictures), BLOODY MARY; ORIGINS (Broad Green Pictures), THE KILLER IN ME (Mar Vista Entertainment) and THE DUFF (McG/Wonderland – released 2015) for CBS Films & Lionsgate; MOW: THE CHOKING GAME (Orly Adelson Prods – released 2014) for Lifetime, which Ms. Bishop also directed; and TV series: CONFESSIONS OF A SOCIOPATH (Mike Medavoy/Phoenix Pictures) for Universal Cable Productions, BLACKBIRD (Intrigue Ent), SHIFTERS (Chuck Roven/Atlas Ent), THE BODY INSTITUTE and THE P WORD (Storyline Ent/Zadan&Meron Prods), UNTITLED ALEX QUADE PROJECT and JOHN HERY F*CKING BROWNE (Viewfinder Pictures), MERCY/MINOR ADJUSTMENTS (John Sacchi/5 More Minutes Prods), DIVE (Hunt Lowry/Roserock Pictures) and ANNE PERRY’S ‘THE INVESTIGATOR’ (Lauren Shuler Donner/The Donner Co). Additionally, Ms. Bishop co-produced the feature film ASSASSINATION GAMES for MPCA. Ms. Bishop is also the former EVP of Motion Pictures and Television at TwinStar Entertainment.
In addition to her scripted fare, Ms. Bishop also has extensive experience in reality television. Vast is currently partnered on all non-scripted programming with Bishop-Lyons Entertainment, which has a first-look deal with ITV Studios. To date, Ms. Bishop has directed more than two dozen sizzle reels as well as pilots for BLE, including VISIONARIES (partnered with Left/Right) for AMC, BARBADORO COMPOUND (ITV/MTV) and REINVENTION (Fox TV Studios.) Moreover, Ms. Bishop shot the pilot episodes for the series GEARS and the new show BODY SHOP CONFESSIONS.
Ms. Bishop is also a three-time speaker at the WGA as well as at numerous writers conferences around the country and is author of the book SELL YOUR STORY IN A SINGLE SENTENCE; ADVICE FROM THE FRONT LINES OF HOLLYWOOD, published by prestigious W.W. Norton & Company in May of 2016. The book hit #1 on Amazon in New Releases five times before its release date. In a recent online interview, CNN dubbed her “The Book Whisperer” of Hollywood.
Ms. Bishop began her work in the industry at Moxie Productions, where she produced and directed projects for such networks as ABC, Showtime, HBO and MTV. She has directed numerous television shows and six feature-length motion pictures, including THE DAY LABORERS (aka Los Jornaleros), which received Official Selection in Edward James Olmos’ LA Latino Int’l Film Festival , Cine Accion (San Fran), OutFest (Hollywood), Reel Affirmations (Wash DC), NewFest (NY) as well as the Milan International Film Festival (Italy). The film was distributed through HBO and Blockbuster. Ms. Bishop is currently in discussions to direct the feature film DEAD BY MIDNIGHT.
Ms. Bishop holds a B.A. in Literature from UC Santa Barbara and an M.F.A. in Production from USC’s School of Cinema/Television. She is a director-member of the Directors Guild of America and the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.
Author and Television Producer
Lindsay Roth is a content creator and producer for Carlos Slim and Larry King’s Ora Media, where she creates, develops, produces and sells both linear and digital television shows. Some of her current shows on Ora include: Larry King Now, Queen Bee and Catching Hell. Haylie Duff’s Real Girl’s Kitchen, which she creates and executive produces for Ora and Cooking Channel, is filming its second season to air in the Spring.
In her first novel, War Paint, is a roman a clef set in the world of cosmetics in which a young woman struggles to find her way while working for a notorious makeup mogul, only to discover that life and never quite cruelty free, is being published by Simon & Schuster / Pocket Star in July 2015. Lindsay is a graduate of Northwestern University’s School of Speech and the Medill School of Journalism.
Media Motivator at Build.Buzz.Launch
As a 25-year veteran of public relations, trained in Journalism, Leann loves a great story. Whether it’s a book, a nonprofit cause or a new business venture, she uncovers the unique story that motivates the media to pay attention. Her clients have included authors, speakers, film festivals, theaters and environmental nonprofits who have been featured in national radio, TV and print including Larry King Live, CNN, Biography Magazine and over 1500 radio and TV shows nationwide, and print as far as India. She is a proponent of online PR and virtual press kits as a method to raise profiles, increase SEO, gain media attention and position clients as experts in their field.
A serial entrepreneur, Leann has owned her own public relations firm, served as Founder and Vice President of The Wentworth Group, a consulting firm to nonprofits, and most recently formed the Book PR and Marketing firm, Build.Buzz.Launch. Media to accelerate brands for authors and speakers. After seeing a need to help authors navigate the paths to publishing, BBL Publishing was launched in July of 2014. This hybrid publishing imprint of BBL Media publishes and markets a select handful of titles in the Health, Wellness and Spirituality genres. Now, Leann gets to read great stories every day and help tell the world about them.
Digital Marketing at HUNTER
Eric started his career at Young & Rubicam (Y&R) working on marquee clients, Johnson & Johnson® and Advil®. Later he joined Bates Advertising doing media planning for Sudafed®, and Actifed®.
Eric’s career path changed during the height of the microbrew craze when his passion for craft-brewed beers led him to start Ale In The Mail™. He later sold the business and started an ecommerce gift company, Delightful Deliveries™. During his 10 years at DD, Eric grew the company into the largest gourmet gift website. In 2008, Delightful Deliveries received the highest industry honor, being named a Top 100 Website, by Internet Retailer Magazine. Recognized as a digital marketing pioneer, he has been quoted frequently by the media. Today Eric is the CEO at HUNTER, an award-winning digital marketing agency in NYC, which helps businesses thrive in the digital economy.
Broadway Theater Producer at Small Pond Enterprises
Michael Roderick was a producer with R2D2 Productions on the Tony Nominated Broadway Production of The Scottsboro Boys. He also served as an Associate Producer of the Off Broadway musical Rooms a Rock Romance at New World Stages. Michael has been the program director for Self-Producing Artists at Theater Resources Unlimited as well as a graduate of the Commercial Theatre Institute’s 14-week Program as well as the Six-week Creative Intensive Program. Michael holds a BA in Secondary Ed English and Theatre Performance from Rhode Island College as well as a Masters in Educational Theatre for Colleges and Communities from NYU. He also is a published playwright, the founder of a conference for connnectors called ConnectorCon, and an entrepreneur.
Broadway Theater Consultant/Developer
Jack is a creative consultant for both new musicals and plays as packager, dramaturg and developer.
He is currently creative consultant for four musicals currently in development. More recently, he was Play Development Director at the Old Globe where he helped plan the Globe's seasons. Prior to that, Jack was the Creative Director for NAMCO where he was involved in the productions of Chicago, Annie Get Your Gun, Seussical, Wonderful Town, Sweet Charity and This is Our Youth.
Publisher of Media Lab Books and former publisher of Writer’s Digest Magazine
Phil Sexton is the publisher of Media Lab Books and former publisher of Writer’s Digest. He has worked in the book business for nearly 30 years, previously having served as Vice President of Sales for F+W Media, Sales Director of Adams Media, Director of Merchandising for United Magazine Company and Independent Bookseller. He is the author of five books, including The Writer’s Lab.
Literary Agent and CEO, FinePrint Literary Management
Peter Rubie specializes in a broad range of high-quality fiction and non-fiction. In non-fiction he specializes in narrative non-fiction, popular science, spirituality, history, biography, pop culture, business and technology, parenting, health, self help, music, and food. He is a “sucker” for outstanding writing. In fiction he represents literate thrillers, crime fiction, science fiction and fantasy, military fiction and literary fiction, middle grade and some boy oriented young adult fiction.
Rubie is a former BBC Radio and Fleet Street journalist and for several years was the director of the publishing section of the New York University Summer Publishing Institute. He was a member of the NYU faculty for 10 years, and taught the only university-level course in the country on how to become a literary agent. Prior to becoming an agent he was a publishing house editor for nearly six years, whose authors won prizes and critical acclaim. He has also been the editor-in-chief of a Manhattan local newspaper, and a freelance editor and book doctor for major publishers. He was a regular reviewer for the international trade magazinePublishers Weekly, and is a published author of both fiction and non-fiction. He is a member of AAR, and regularly lectures and writes on publishing and the craft of writing, and was once a professional jazz musician.
Literary Agent at The Bent Agency
Louise Fury is a literary agent at The Bent Agency in NYC and specializes in romance, young adult material and pop culture nonfiction. She has sold books to both traditional and electronic publishers and also represents many successful self published authors. Louise encourages authors to have one foot in traditional publishing and the other in the digital-first arena. She believes in staying ahead of the pack by embracing change, not just adapting to it and is a huge advocate for exploring secondary rights. She has sold audio, film and foreign rights for her clients. Louise, a native South African, lives in Manhattan, but travels to Cape Town every year, where she spends time educating South African writers, meeting with international publishers and distributing books for women and children in need.
Paul S. Levine
Literary Agent & Attorney at Paul S. Levine Literary Agency
Mr. Levine has practiced entertainment law for over 35 years, specializing in the representation of writers, producers, actors, directors, composers, musicians, artists, authors, photographers, galleries, publishers, developers, production companies and theatre companies in the fields of motion pictures, television, interactive multimedia, live stage, recorded music, concerts, the visual arts, publishing, and advertising. In 1996, Mr. Levine opened the Paul S. Levine Literary Agency, specializing in the representation of book authors and the sale of motion picture and television rights in and to books. Since starting his literary agency, Mr. Levine has sold over 150 fiction and non-fiction books to at least 50 different publishers and has had many books developed as movies-for-television and feature films.
The fiction which Mr. Levine represents tends to be commercial—thrillers, mysteries, women’s fiction, and literary fiction. The non-fiction which he represents also tends to be commercial—self-help, how-to, relationships, memoirs, health, women’s issues, pop culture, new age, and business. For both fiction and non-fiction books, his biggest successes have been with authors who originally self-publish their books, sell a significant number of copies, and then wish to have their books republished by a major publishing house.
For the film screen, he represents a wide range of scripts, from romantic comedies to thrillers to historical epics. In television, Mr. Levine mainly represents writers and producers of true life-story movies-for-television, as well as the subjects of those docudramas. He also represents writers and writer-producers of network and non-network series television, both dramas and comedies, as well as reality shows, game shows, talk shows and the like.
Maria C. Miles
Entertainment Attorney at Maria C. Miles
Maria C. Miles is the founding partner of an entertainment law firm with offices in New York. Ms. Miles’ practice focuses on all areas of entertainment and media law including, film (both documentary and feature), music, literary publishing, fashion, sports and new media. She serves as Co-Chair of the Entertainment & Media practice and is Of Counsel to Berlandi, Nussbaum & Reitzas, LLP, a full service law firm that offers a wide variety of legal expertise, including general corporate, banking & structured finance, litigation, tax and intellectual property.
Most recently, Maria was general counsel for a multi-media and digital start-up working on a diverse range of subject-matter areas including corporate and financing transactions, technology development and licensing, employment, and intellectual property (including trademarks, copyrights and patents) both in the US and abroad. Prior to her role as in-house counsel, Maria was associated with Greenberg Traurig, LLP, and Rudolph & Beer, LLP, where she served as counsel to numerous award-winning actors, writers, producers, television hosts and multi-platinum recording artists, sports teams, and corporations in the fashion and retail industries related to their entertainment and intellectual property matters.
Maria received her J.D. degree from Western New England University School of Law in 1998 and her undergraduate degree from Muhlenberg College in 1995. Maria is admitted to practice in the State of New York, The United States District Court, Eastern & Southern Districts of New York, and The United States Supreme Court.
Entertainment Attorney at Dragonfly Management
Aaron Pierce, co-founder of Dragonfly Management, NYC club-owner, and accomplished entertainment attorney, has had the arts in and around him his entire life. Aaron’s passion for film, theatre, and music, has continued to expose him to classical and contemporary arts from cultures around the world and the creative pursuits that inspire and drive them. Aaron advises and counsels numerous record labels, recording studios, film production companies, producers, artists, and performers, from up-and-coming hopefuls, to established acts and artists. The protection of a client’s rights is of tantamount importance. Aaron negotiates and drafts all manner of contracts for producers and film production companies, musical acts and record companies, song writers, actors, and authors, including co-author agreements, publishing contracts, literary agency deals, collaboration contracts, services agreements, copyright assignments, film, television and theatrical option arrangements, and license agreements. Aaron received his J.D. from Fordham Law School and a B.A. from State University of New York at Buffalo. His open-door firm is located in Tribeca and he always offers free initial consultations.
Principal at Sirota Law Firm, P.C.
Jonathan is a New York entertainment, business and technology attorney with over 19 years of combined legal, government and business experience. He has worked closely with famous brands, government officials and corporations on projects of all sizes.
Jonathan’s experience includes being a senior executive of the Hearst Corporation for over 10 years, where he provided counsel to several multimillion-dollar revenue generating business divisions. At the Hearst Corporation’s Office of General Counsel, Jonathan responsibilities included advising Hearst Entertainment’s King Features Syndicate.
He also served as the Director of Legal Affairs and Secretary of the Board at SmartMoney, a Hearst and Dow Jones & Co., Inc. joint venture. Prior to joining Hearst, Jonathan worked at the Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology for three years.
Jonathan's film industry experience includes executive producing and providing production counsel services for feature films. Jonathan regularly represents clients in all areas of entertainment, including, producers, actors, models, musicians, authors, and artists. In addition to his legal career, Jonathan is the co-founder of various growing business ventures in the entertainment, fashion, technology, venture capital and real estate industries.
Talent Agent & Owner of Jenevieve Brewer Talent Management
Jenevieve Brewer transitioned from launching and running the Aboutface division at Carson/Kolker for 10 years into management over at Terrific Talent Associates in September 2013. In March 2015 Jenevieve opened her own management company Jenevieve Brewer Talent Management. She works with a select pool of adult clients. Her clients appear in national commercial spots for Coke, Crest, Papa John’s, Verizon, Bank of America, Hanes, Nike and Old Navy. Her clients have booked recurring and guest star roles for numerous episodics such as Law and Order SVU, Power, Orange Is The New Black, Gotham, Blue Bloods and Unforgettable. Her clients have booked supporting roles in the feature films Run All Night and Southpaw. She just booked the lead in the feature film directed by Katie Holmes, All We Had, which is coming out in 2016. While at TTA, her client Josia Ruby Kushner booked the feature film The Intern directed by Nancy Meyers in which she was cast for the lead role of Paige with Anne Hathaway and Robert De Niro. It was just out in September 2015.
Jill Michelle Williams
Jill Michelle Williams is currently the Head of Development for Engel Entertainment. Previous to this position she worked as a seasoned television Showrunner, Director, and Writer working in New York City and Los Angeles. After graduating with a degree in Broadcast Journalism she made the leap from local news to network prime time and to date, has produced over 185 hours of television for NBC, ABC, BRAVO, MTV, VH1, OWN, LIFETIME, and OXYGEN to name a few.
From NBC’s “The Biggest Loser,” to the fashion sensation “Project Runway All Stars” on Lifetime wrangling the likes of Pharrell, Diane von Furstenberg, her range knows no boundaries.
When not appearing on TMZ escorting a celebrity, Jill spends her time developing a slate of TV projects coming soon to a channel near you.
Mark DeGasperi is Executive Director of Media Development International. He has worked as a writer, script doctor and professional story analyst in New York for twenty years, reading screenplays, plays and books for film and TV adaptation, most recently for Sony Pictures Entertainment, Tribeca Productions, Paramount Pictures and Odyssey Networks. He has covered and scouted movie material for Universal Pictures, New Line Cinema, Miramax, the William Morris Agency (WME/IMG) and International Creative Management (ICM Partners). He has worked in production at ABC Television in New York. He teaches Advanced Screenwriting at New York University, and has received an NYU-SPS Award. He has taught the Master Class in Screenwriting at the School of Visual Arts. He is the Associate Producer of the 2015 feature environmental/human rights documentary shot in India, RESCUING THE STOLEN RIVER. His novel THE LAZARUS EXPERIMENT was published in 2014.
CEO at the Serendipity Literary Agency
Regina Brooks is the CEO of Serendipity Literary Agency LLC, and formerly held senior editorial positions at John Wiley and Sons and McGraw-Hill. She is the author of three books Never Finished, Never Done, Writing Great Books for Young Adults, You Should Really Write A Book: How to Write, Sell, and Market Your Memoir, and is on the faculty of the Harvard University publishing program and several Low residency programs. Serendipity Literary Agency clients have received many notable awards including National Book Award, Newbery, Michael Printz, and Caldecott honor, NAACP Image Award and Edgar Award and a host of others. She was named Woman of the Year by The National Association of Professional Women, and a two-time winner of the StevieTM Award for Women Entrepreneurs. Regina Brooks has been featured in books such as The Guide to Literary Agents and the NAACP nominated Down to Business 10 steps for Women Entrepreneurs, How to Build a Platform and Bill Dukes: Dark Girls. She is on the board of Grub Street Literary Council, National Book Foundation Jr Committee, a member of the Association of Author Representatives, the Authors Guild of America, and New York Women in Film and Television. She is the Executive Director of YB Literary Foundation, the Founder of Open Lens Publishing Imprint and CEO of Possibiliteas tea company . She is also the cofounder of Brooklyn Aviation a private flying club. Prior to her publishing career she worked as an aerospace engineer and made history as the first African American woman to receive a bachelor’s of Science Degree in Aerospace Engineering from The Ohio State University. She is a graduate of The School of the Arts High School in Rochester, NY. She currently resides in Brooklyn NY.
Winner of the 2015 PWA Shamus Award and the 2015 ITW Thriller Award for Best Original Paperback Novel, Vincent Zandri is the NEW YORK TIMES, USA TODAY, and AMAZON KINDLE No.1 bestselling author of more than 20 novels including THE REMAINS, MOONLIGHT WEEPS, EVERYTHING BURNS, and ORCHARD GROVE. An MFA in Writing graduate of Vermont College, Zandri's work is translated in the Dutch, Russian, French, Italian, and Japanese. Recently, Zandri was the subject of a major feature by the New York Times. He has also made appearances on Bloomberg TV and FOX news. In December 2014, Suspense Magazine named Zandri's, THE SHROUD KEY, as one of the Best Books of 2014. A freelance photo-journalist and the author of the popular "lit blog," The Vincent Zandri Vox, Zandri has written for Living Ready Magazine, RT, New York Newsday, Hudson Valley Magazine, The Times Union (Albany), Game & Fish Magazine, Writer's Digest, and many more. He lives in New York and Florence, Italy. For more go to WWW.VINCENTZANDRI.COM